Can I Sue Someone in Civil Court for Assault?

Assault is a crime, and anyone suspected of assault generally faces judgement in a criminal court room. However, an assault case can also be brought forth as a civil lawsuit against the wrongdoer. After all, the injuries a person can suffer from an assault can easily cause them a long list of damages and losses, including hospital and doctor bills, medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, pain, suffering, permanent disfigurement, and much more. For this reason, it is common for assault victims to pursue a personal injury claim against their attacker. Continue reading to learn more about this, and how to prove assault in civil court.

What is Assault?

The act of assault is not always a physical or violent act. A person can faces assault charges even if they never had actual physical contact with the victim. Most people assume that assault goes hand-in-hand with the crime of battery, but this is not accurate either. That is because assault is categorized as any type of intentional threat of violence or offensive act. Although assault can include both physical and non-physical contact, the factors that give such an offense validity are complicated.

You see, if a person threatens future violence, this is not sufficient enough to be considered assault. However, if a person delivers a verbal threat along with an action that implies they are capable of fulfilling the threat, this could be seen as assault in the eyes of the law. The threat of harm must be immediate. For instance, if a person holding a baseball bat threatens to knock you out with a baseball bat, and then smashes your car window or mailbox with the bat, this could be seen as assault. However, if the person does not have a bat, and only says they will knock you out with one, they would not be charged with assault.

Compensatory Damages

As mentioned, when an assault results in a victims injuries, which in turn causes them financial loss, it is possible that a civil court could award them with compensatory damages. In the case that a victim of a non-physical assault does not suffer injuries or damages, a court may decide to award them with nominal damages as an acknowledgment of the violation of their rights. In particularly egregious cases, punitive damages may also be awarded as a punishment to the assaulter.

What To Do

If you are or believe to be a victim of assault, do not waste anytime filing a police report. It is vital that you have your assault officially documented, as this can help you in court to prove your case. Once you have filed a police report, you must seek medical care immediately. Not only is this vital for your personal health and well-being, it is also necessary to have your injuries properly documented.

After you have stabilized from your injuries, contact an experienced personal injury law firm. They will have you come in for a consultation to determine your eligibility for compensation. They can help you obtain a fair settlement to cover your losses and damages that resulted from your injuries.